Coming of the Son of Man
Key Verse: “Then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.”
MUCH OF THE INFORMATION concerning the Second Advent of Jesus Christ is written in figurative language. “There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”—Luke 21:25,26
The above passage is a parallel account to the words found in chapter 13 of Mark’s gospel. The earth is often used as a symbol in scripture. “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.” (Isa. 1:2) As the Lord speaks to the earth, it is apparent the physical planet is not being addressed, but rather, the people of the earth. Another Biblical symbol is the sea. “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” (Isa. 57:20) The Bible often refers to the sea, not as literal water, but rather as a symbol for wicked people.
Our Key Verse affirms that at the Lord’s Second Advent he will be seen coming in the clouds with power and glory.
The foregoing is yet another symbolic passage that needs to be harmonized with other scriptures which indicate that a literal interpretation of those words would not be accurate. “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” (I Thess. 5:2) The Lord’s return occurs at a time when the world at large would be unaware of this fact, because a ‘thief in the night’ would not be discernable to anyone who was not expecting him. Furthermore, Jesus specifically indicated to his disciples, just prior to his crucifixion, that the world would see him no more after his death.—John 14:19
Christ gave his life for the world, and is now a powerful spiritual being who cannot be seen by the human eye—“being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” (I Pet. 3:18) In due course, however, when Christ’s kingdom is established, everyone will see (understand) that he has returned, because peace and prosperity will exist throughout the world.
The forepart of this Day of the Lord is prophetically described in a manner that coincides with conditions that presently exist in this troublesome world. “That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.”—Zeph. 1:15
A special message of encouragement is provided to believers even now as we view current events, assured that sin and death will pass away. “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”—II Pet. 3:13,14